It’s almost that time of year where the fringe superstars in WWE are nervously awaiting what the future holds, as the company always releases some superstars they simply no longer require.
That can be to make room for arrivals or even to save valuable money, and it wouldn’t be a massive surprise to see WWE letting go of some lesser names when the decision has been made this year.
Back in 2010, a staggering 30 members of the WWE left the organisation. Some were released from their deals while others left on their own accord such as Shawn Michaels who retired, while it was one of many short-term exits for Chris Jericho.
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Here are 10 of the biggest that left seven years ago.
Following her departure, Maria Kanellis found even more success on the independent circuit, even if most of it wasn’t in an in-ring role. Appearing in promotions such as New Japan Pro Wrestling, she’s back in the limelight as Mike Bennett’s manager – her real-life husband.
It’s being claimed that the duo are now WWE-bound.
Kaval was destined for big things after a decorated indie career and winning the second season of NXT, but he failed to live up to expectations as the company simply didn’t know how to book him.
He’s back entertaining on the independent scene, using the Low Ki name again where he’s the current Impact Wrestling X-Division Champion.
Mickie James is another who found success upon leaving WWE in numerous promotions, but made her return on SmackDown LIVE to feud with Becky Lynch and then moved to Monday Night RAW in the recent superstar shake-up.
Violating the wellness programme saw Carlito leave WWE and embark on an indie career on an international scale, ranging from the Philippines to Japan. He’s currently competing for WWC where he’s the Universal Champion – a title he’s won 17 times.
The Gold Standard’s natural ability was enough to make him a big name on the independent circuit after his release, and was close to a return after the WWE draft. However, a torn rotator cuff put him on the shelf and he remains a free agent.
MVP became the inaugural IWGP Intercontinental Champion after leaving WWE while also competing in other promotions. He most recently performed for Lucha Underground where he was released for violating terms of his contract.
After competing under numerous gimmicks in WWE, Gallows was released in 2010 before making a huge name for himself in Japan alongside Karl Anderson in the Bullet Club. He returned to the company last year alongside Machine Gun, where the two have held the RAW tag team championships on one occasion.
Matt Hardy’s 2010 release worked wonders, as he returned to the independent scene and created the infamous Broken gimmick in Impact Wrestling, drawing huge praise from the wrestling world.
Matt returned at WrestleMania 33 alongside Jeff, where they captured the RAW tag team championships in a Fatal Four Way ladder match – fans are now eagerly awaiting the debut of the gimmick in WWE.
Batista also left WWE in 2010 and didn’t hide the fact that he disliked the direction the company was heading in. Following his departure, he competed in MMA and also had one more return to WWE which saw him compete at WrestleMania XXX, as well as reform Evolution with Triple H and Randy Orton.
Now, his focus is on Hollywood as the big roles continue to pour in, where he recently starred as Drax the Destroyer in the highly acclaimed Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
WWE released Bryan in 2010 after he debuted as part of the Nexus and strangled Justin Roberts with a tie. That was put into a storyline where WWE decided to bring him back shortly after at SummerSlam – although he did compete back on the independent circuit when he was let go.
Now, Bryan is the general manager of SmackDown LIVE after his in-ring career came to an end, and he recently became a father for the first time too.
Also released in 2010: Charlie Haas, Hurricane Helms, Jimmy Wang Yang, Sho Funaki, Ray Gordy, Mike Knox, Jillian Hall, Paul Burchill, Shad Gaspard, Caylen croft, Eric Escobar, Katie Lea, Tiffany, Vance Archer, savannah, Serene, Scott Armstrong and Tommy Dreamer.
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